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3 Stars

Elvis (2022)

Weirdly, I can’t remember the first time I heard of Elvis, but I do remember the first time I recognized him. It was when a young Forrest Gump recognized him on TV after meeting “the King” earlier on in life. Needless to say, of course I have always been a fan of him.

This just goes to show that Elvis, one of the top five or so most popular entertainers in American history, is almost as embedded into that history as Washington or Lincoln. A truly larger than life stage presence indeed would deserve a biographical film of that caliber. Enter director Baz Luhrmann, and you get Elvis.

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3 Stars Movies

Lightyear (2022)

Right from the get go, we see in the opening credits that Lightyear is not at all related to the semi-kooky but lovable Buzz we have seen grow since we first met him over a quarter century ago. Instead, it is the movie that would become the favorite of young Andy back in 1995 (when the original Toy Story was released.) 

Well, I knew I was not likely to get any call backs to Buzz being called “Mrs. Nesbit”(“DO YOU SEE THE HAT?”), but oh well. A framing device is a framing device.

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4 Stars

Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

The original Top Gun from 1986 is one of those films that can represent multiple forms of nostalgia.

For years, it was a Christmas tradition for my cousins and I when we reunited every Christmas Eve. On another occasion, it was the film of choice at a YMCA camp I attended as a teenager, while and my fellow campers spent a good amount of time yelling “PDA!” (Public Display of Affection) during “Take my Breath Away”. I venture to guess there are more than enough scenarios for others out there (first dates, special birthday parties, etc) with their connection to the original (I read that the actual Top Gun school fines its students for quoting the film). In short, a sequel has indeed been anticipated by many more than one might think.

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0 Stars Movies

2000 Mules (2022)

A few months ago, I was honored to be featured on the Game for a Movie Podcast, hosted by my old friend Mike, in which we predicted the Oscars (not to brag, but I triumphed.)

I admit to asking him far too often afterwards if I could come on another episode, mainly one where he and his co-hosts talk about bad movies. Therefore, I decided to go toward the bottom of the barrel of bad movies, but I out did myself. I lifted the barrel, dug a little, and found 2000 Mules.


To put it bluntly, the only reason this movie wasn’t the worst thing to happen to me in the past week was because I tested positive for COVID (doing okay, thank you).


For those who have not heard of this film (which I can’t blame you if you haven’t), conspiracy theorist Dinesh D’Zousa (that title fits him far better than filmmaker) reveals the “proof” that the 2020 election was not won by Biden. The information he gives is from a company in Texas called True the Vote, which was able to supply videos of people who were dropping off loads of ballots at different locations in key states that Biden won (Georgia, Arizona, and especially Philadelphia).I admit to not knowing if the 2020 election was indeed the “most secure election in American history”, but what this guy gives the audience is something more like aged Swiss Cheese: It smells and is full of holes.

Okay, I actually should not have said that, because I do like Swiss Cheese.


Speaking of audience, it is clear this film is made mainly for the “MAGA” crowd. Wouldn’t it be more productive for D’Souza (whose 2018 film The Death of the Nation was one of the worst movies I saw in the 2010s) to make a film that actually reaches out to the opposition, there by convincing people of his views? Granted, this would not work, because no one behind this film has heard of a works cited page or bibliography.


It is true that documentaries will have us leaving the theater with questions, but the good films are the ones that leave us with questions because of the film, not about it. Google would be a better source than I to fact check this film, but here are some personal questions I had regarding it:

  1. If the election was indeed “rigged”, wouldn’t the government be smart enough to realize that geotracking could find out their plans? (In the movie, it is stated that at least one camera powers off during a critical time, but no more).
  2. WHY DOES DINESH AND COMPANY THINK ANYONE WANTS TO RELIVE ANY WORLD EVENTS FROM 2020?
  3. Why did Dinesh make a rookie mistake in showing basically the whole movie in the film’s trailer?
  4. When finding these “facts” out, why make a movie about and not just, I dunno, take it to court?
  5. How many licks does it take to get to the center of Tootsie Pop?

I’d ask more, but I am reminded of a quote from the great George Carlin:
“Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

I will give Dinesh this: In one of the videos, he is kind enough to pixel out not just the person in question, but the dog with them. At least he cares for the dog.

Overall:

Zero Stars

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3 1/2 Stars

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)

Like many a millennial, I grew associating filmmaker Sam Raimi with the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man Trilogy. While known to be a potent force in the arena of cinematic horror, I sadly have only seen one Sam Raimi horror film as of this writing, The Evil Dead (although one could make the argument Spider-Man 3 was actually a horror in other ways).

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3 1/2 Stars

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022)

Before we saw The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (one of the best movie titles in recent memory), my friend Peter asked an interesting question.

“Who would win in a fight: Nicholas Cage or Chuck Norris?”

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4 1/2 Stars

Everything Everywhere at Once (2022)

“TAKE THE RIGHT PATH. PG 43”

“TAKE THE LEFT PATH. PG 24”

I am not sure if they are popular with kids anymore, but I remember a good chunk of my free time in elementary school was spent reading some of the “choose your own adventure” book series. The options would make or break the outcome of the mood I would feel all day, which sadly lead to some downer days (I always seemed to be lead to my doom of some kind with my choices). The idea of the choices we make is just one of many, many, many, many ingredients of the film Everything Everywhere at Once.

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2 Stars

Morbius (2022)

Approximately six hours prior to seeing Morbius, I (perhaps prophetically) had a dentist appointment to have a filling replaced.

If you know me, you know the dentist (despite how nice they are to me) are among my least favorite places to go. On the Brightside, there was a slight miscommunication, as I only had a cleaning done. The experience was rather paralleled in that to my going into seeing Morbius, knowing that word of mouth said it was not going to be good. Seeing Morbius is indeed like going to the dentist to get a cavity filled (or a root canal), only to find out it is something as minor as a cleaning: While it is not all that bad, it is not an experience you want to go back on.

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4 Stars

Turning Red (2022)

What was particularly curious to me about Turning Red was not the subject matter of the film so much as when the film takes place.

Halfway thru, I finally discovered that the film’s director, Domee Shi (her full length feature debut), was born around the same time as the film’s protagonist. This makes the intimacy of Turning Red only more personal and profound.

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4 Stars

The Batman (2022)

We are coming up on nearly a full eight decades since the caped crusader first appeared on big screens (thanks in part to serials of the 1940s).

Since then, we have had a ton of contributions to the character over the years. From grappling hooks to gravely voices to batarangs to shark repellant to bat nipples, Batman is a character that is as full of depth as any fictional being out there. Adding the grammatical article making the newest installment The Batman just scratches the surface of what the new installment adds to the lore.